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What is Ecological Design?


These 5 Principles from Sim Van Der Ryn and Stuart Cowan are distilled in their book Ecological Design:


Solutions Grow From Place - Ecological design begins with the intimate knowledge of a particular place. Therefore, it is small-scale and direct, responsive to both local conditions and local people. If we are sensitive to the nuances of place, we can inhabit without destroying.


Ecological Accounting Informs Design - Trace the environmental impacts of existing or proposed designs. Use this information to determine the most ecologically sound design possibility.


Design With Nature - By working with living processes, we respect the needs of all species while meeting our own. Engaging in processes that regenerate rather than deplete, we become more alive.


Everyone Is A Designer - Listen to every voice in the design process. No one is participant only or designer only. Everyone is a participant designer. Honor the special knowledge that each person brings. As people work together to heal their places, they also heal themselves.


Make Nature Visible - De-natured environments ignore our need and our potential for learning. Making natural cycles and processes visible brings the designed environment back to life. Effective design helps inform us of our place within nature.

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